Every successful basketball team has a guy like Garrick Green.
He doesn’t leap tall buildings in a single bound or have a long list of All-America honors.
But it’s appropriate that the 6-foot-6 senior plays at the center of whatever the second-seeded Scotlandville boys basketball team does.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “This kid is the epitome of what hard work, unselfishness and sacrificing for the team is all about. I just love our chances any night when he’s on the floor. I know exactly what we’re going to get.”
What the Hornets (30-2) typically get from Green is 12 points, 10 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. That might not sound like much in the overall scheme. But it’s enough to help the SHS win two Class 5A state titles and have one runner-up finish over the past three seasons.
Defending state champion Scotlandville hosts No. 31 John Curtis (14-11) to open the Class 5A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.
“In middle school, I was never a post player,” Green said. “I played more on the perimeter, and everything I’ve learned about the position I learned here. Coach (Jeremy) Noah (assistant coach) taught me post moves.
“The big things for me are consistency and hard work. We’ve done things the same way since I was a freshman. I learned fast that in order to succeed, I’d have to work hard.”
Green is a craftsman whose job is as much about consistency as it is quality or quantity. He loves the dirty work, whether it’s rebounding, defense or running the floor. As Sample recalls, Green had little choice when he came to Scotlandville as a 6-3 freshman.
Green had to defend, rebound and try to score on 6-11 Damian Jones (Vanderbilt), 6-8 Jared Sam (Southern) and 6-5 Brian Bridgewater (LSU) each day. The Hornets won their first state title that year. Scotlandville’s school of hard knocks, left Green with a foundation few would dare knock today.
“I think that’s why as a sophomore Garrick was able to do so well,” Sample said. “What he learned that year going against those guys is the reason why he’s done so well as a three-year starter.
“This year we’re trying to get him on the perimeter more, and he’s done a good job with that. I promise you this, whatever college gets him will get a steal.”
Sophomore star Ja’Vonte Smart, the Hornets’ 6-4 guard, is the player top colleges from across the nation are flocking to. The process has been slower for Green, who at 190 pounds, will likely take on more of a perimeter role in college. He has an offer from Southeastern Louisiana and has attracted the interest of other state schools, including Louisiana-Lafayette.
When Sample refers to Green as a “total package,” some might scratch their heads. Consider this — Green carries a 3.7 grade-point average in honors classes in Scotlandville’s engineering magnet program. He plans a college major in either mechanical or chemical engineering.
It’s not unusual for Sample to refer to Green, guard Jordan Adebutu and others as nerds or brainiacs.
“Right now I’m taking calculus,” Green said. “It’s hard, but I like the challenge. I’ve always liked math. That’s been my thing.”
Of course, there’s basketball too.
“I try to work hard every day and give my team and teammates whatever they need,” Green said. “I’ve never been a big talker at practice or in games. But I’m learning. My goal is to do better than I did the day before.”
Solid words to live by from a 17-year-old. Adebutu takes a break from a shooting drill at Tuesday’s practice and offers another.
“Garrick … he’s our heartbeat,” Adebutu said.